How the race finished
Rosita Reijnhout (Visma | Lease a Bike) stunned with her first win on the Women’s World Tour at the Cadel Evans Road Race, holding off Dominka Wlodarczyk (UAE Team ADQ) and Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Suez).
Full results are available below.
How it happened
The peloton took on a 140km loop starting and finishing in Geelong, taking in two laps of a finishing circuit with the steep Challambra Cresent climb. The first attacks came just 5 kilometres into the race, with the Australian duo of Lucie Fityus (ARA | Skip Capital) and Gina Ricardo (Team Bridgelane) going clear. Stephanie Hibburt (Australian National Team) made it an Aussie Trio, and the trio built their lead to around one minute.
Over the next 40 kilometres the gap yo-yoed a little, with Fityus dropping back before rejoining the leading duo. Approaching the first intermediate sprint of the day, with 84km to go, Visma | Lease a Bike was interested, and the breakaway were reeled back in – but only after Fityus was able to take maximum points through the sprint.
Into a dangerously exposed windy section, the peloton stretched out, threatening to split, but it all stayed together. At 61km to go the peloton rolled through the second intermediate sprint all together, with Visma | Lease a Bike’s Veenhoven leading Wollaston and Edwards across the line.
With a headwind, and the major teams looking after their key riders heading into the finishing laps, the race shifted into a bit of a holding pattern. Stine Dale (Coop-Repsol) saw the opportunity to attack, and after first being neutralised, on her second attempt she went clear with Alli Anderson (ARA | Skip Capital). With a chase group quickly neutralised, Dale and Anderson built up a lead of over 1 minute.
The peloton re-organised with around 30km to go, as the main contenders prepared for the climbs. With the pace increased, Dale and Anderson were swept up at 27km to go. Liv Alula Jayco and Dsm-Firmenich Post NL lead out into the first ascent of Challambra Cresent. Sarah Gigante (AG Insurance Soudal Team) was the first to attack on the climb, with the reaction coming quickly from Ruth Edwards (Human Powered Health). Ellia Wyllie (Liv Alula Jayco) matched the pair, and held the front with Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (FDJ Suez) on her wheel for the remainder of the climb taking maximum Queen of the Mountain points at the top.
The front of the race numbered only around twenty five riders, but through the flatter roads the second group on the road rejoined the front of the race. Evita Muzic (FDJ Suez) and Brodie Chapman (Lidl Trek) tried to string things out, but it was Audrey Cordon Ragout who found herself off the front solo with 20km remaining.
On the second and final time up Challambra Crescent, Ally Wollaston (AG Insurance Soudal Team) put in a huge effort on the front to leadout for Gigante, with Ella Wyllie tucked in on the wheel. Once Wollaston was done, it regrouped a little on the climb. Gigante picked it up again halfway up, but it wasn’t enough to make the difference.
Uttrup Ludwig launched on the steepest part of the climb, quickly opening up a good gap. Wyllie and MarionBunel were next over the top, with Edwards leading through the remainder of the bunch. Uttrup Ludwig held her lead up into the short, steep climb at 6km to go, but was joined by Rosita Reijnhout (Visma | Lease a bike) and Dominika Wlodarczyk (UAE Team ADQ).
With less than 5km to go, Gigante took a last opportunity to attack from the bunch, trying to cross the gap. Up front, Reijnhout also attacked. The race was in ones and twos all over the road, all able to see one another, but no one able to make the difference. Reijnhout held her position out front, drag racing down the coast towards the finish line. Gigante was unable to join the two in the chase, and Reijnhout had just enough in the tank to hold off Wlodarczyk and Uttrup Ludwig, to take a stunning first victory on the Women’s World Tour.
Results powered by FirstCycling.com